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International Day for Biological Diversity – A retrospective on 2012’s wettest summer

By : Chris Peacock |May 17, 2016 |Blog |0 Comment

International Day for Biological Diversity (IDBD) is fast approaching, and this year falls on Sunday, May 22nd. The global campaign was designed by the UN General Assembly to increase awareness and understanding of some of the world’s most important biodiversity issues. In honour of this, we wanted to look back at what was one of the wettest summers on record in 2012 – and one of the notable initiatives to help monitor biodiversity during this time.

After two unusually dry winters left seven water companies across southern and eastern England worried about low water levels and drought, few saw the heavy, almost non-stop rainfall coming. Between June, July and August, the UK experienced around 366.8mm of rainfall, which made 2012 the second wettest UK summer on record and the wettest in 100 years, behind the 384.4 mm rainfall in 1912.

The increase in rainfall is largely thought to be a byproduct of global warming, which continues to result in diverse and sporadic weather throughout the country. Though rainfall levels have yet to top the highs of 2012, rainfall was the highest in three years in 2015, with an average rainfall level of 272mm, which is 113% of the 1981-2010 average. Flooding continues to be a problem for the general population, as well as having a sizeable impact on the biodiversity and ecosystems of animals in the country.

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Back in 2012, the Environment Agency launched a Fisheries Resilience Scheme in Kent and South London, in order to help angling clubs and fisheries to monitor their waters for dissolved oxygen (DO). DO is a measure of the quantity of free oxygen molecules in water and is an important indicator of the health of an aquatic ecosystem. On-going low dissolved oxygen in a water body will harm most aquatic life, including fish, because there will not be enough of it to sustain life. Conversely, too much oxygen in water can also be dangerous. Find out more about DO and how to monitor it here.

The rising water levels and increase in rainwater can have a sizeable impact on the DO levels in water, which in turn can have a detrimental influence on fish and delicate ecosystems. This made monitoring water especially important during this time.

The EA funded water testing equipment in order to help support angling clubs and fisheries perform the test themselves. Aquaread also proudly supported the scheme, offering a discount on our optical DO meter, and by doing so, helping local bodies to have a positive impact on their local environments.

Using water testing equipment not only allows people to monitor levels of DO in water, but also to check for a range of other markers and elements. This can help to relieve environmental damage caused by flooding, and to help sustain and grow the diverse population in the UK’s lakes and rivers. Flooding continues to be a massive issue in the UK, and the hopes of initiatives such as this and others that have come since are to put power to the people, to help prevent and monitor it.

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